The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published by the United Nations in 1948. This declaration represents the very first global expression that all human beings are inherently entitled to human rights. 

But, some critics say that these human rights treaties are too idealistic, and not easily enforced. Actually, most people say that non-profit's ideas of human rights and peace-building in a global prospect is impossible to enforce.

What is the driving force behind a non-profit being human rights oriented?

Welcome to our story...as it is unfolding.

Over the summer...I was in Sarajevo. I spent my time with a 19 year-old during the photo-voice project. She told me about how this photograph was a demonstration for the day of Human Rights.

We sat outside a cafe, under the warm shade of a tree. She took this photograph in her hand then looked up at me and, "They say that we don't exist, yet here we are."

She continued to tell me that the people in Bosnia say, "We don't have gay people, that doesn't exist here. That is only in modern societies, like the USA, UK, Sweden, and countries like that, there are not homosexual people here."

She looked at the photo and put it back down and said once again, "They say that we don't exist, yet here we are." She looked up at me and said "So, we were just holding this sign to show that we exist."

She explained that every monotheistic religion in Bosnia including Catholicism, Orthodox, and Islam...are not accepting of gay people, the LGBT population. 

During my stay, I traveled to Prijedor on 5.31, the day of commemoration for children who had lost their lives during the genocide. Many have said that no one protected children during the war. On 5.31 each year, the community commemorates and protests silently for a public memorial to be placed in Prijedor to acknowledge the killings that took place among innocent men, women, and children. 

Before the silent protest began, I recognized a familiar face, Refik Hodzic. He is the Director of Communications for the International Center of Transitional Justice, his work includes seeking justice for war crimes throughout former Yugoslavia. We greeted each other before the silent protest. He asked me how my trip was going and wanted to know my thoughts of Bosnia. And...I remember how overwhelmed I felt in that moment...I just looked at him......and with a blank stare...I just took a deep breath in. I couldn't process everything that I had experienced during my three week stay after all...I had studied Bosnia-Herzegovina for three years.

And so...he looked at me and said..."It's a different reality here."

How did Refik know what I was thinking? And...How did he describe the past and the present in only 5 words?

And...then I remembered to stop holding my breath.

Human rights are a different reality for Herzegovinians. Which makes our project even more important! Our goal at 1948 is to empower young adults using arts-based therapeutic techniques. Our team is committed to giving a voice to Bosnian young adults experiences, and further educating young adults on the effects of International Humanitarian Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a cross-cultural and global context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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